Author Interview Number Fifty-Two – Barbara G. Tarn

Welcome to Barbara G.Tarn

Where are you from and where do you live now? I’m Italian and I’m still stuck in this third world country, hoping to move to a saner place soon.

Please tell us a little about your writing – for example genre, title, etc. I write mostly SFF, but I label my fantasy “adult unconventional” since I don’t follow the usual tropes of the genre. It’s not a BISAC category, so I usually choose the Fantasy – General category when I publish, since it’s not Epic, Paranormal nor Urban and I can never find a specific sub-category for my stories. Is it High Fantasy because it’s set on a secondary world? I have no idea…

Are your characters based on real people? They have real people’s faces (I call it my “virtual cast”), but I use them as actors (in fact my muses are both actors, I like imagining new roles for them). I might squeeze in a real thing or two here and there, but mostly I like to make up stuff. Having a clear and known face in mind helps me visualize the story, though.

Research can be important in world-building, how much do you need to do for your books? Do you enjoy this aspect of creating a novel and what are your favourite resources? I started writing fantasy precisely because I was too lazy to do research and write historical novels. But then I discovered researching wasn’t so bad – especially with Saint Google at hand – so now I try to check if there’s something on the internet about what I’m thinking and then elaborate on that. Still to be improved: writing action scenes, realistic injuries and descriptions. I find them boring, and think they’d bore the reader too, so I tend to skip them. But with some research that helps me visualize better whatever I’m trying to say, I improve my stories. I now have a very long calendar for the history of Silvery Earth, so it’s just minor things that need to be checked from time to time.

Sort these into order of importance: Great characters; great world-building; solid plot; technically perfect. Can you explain why you chose this order? (Yes I know they all are important…) Great characters, solid plot, great world-building, technically perfect. I’m a storyteller, not a wordsmith. As long as there’s a story and it’s clear, with no plot holes and other inconsistencies, I don’t fuss about words and sentences.

In what formats are your books available? (E-books, print, large print audio) Are you intending to expand these and if not, what is the reason? e-book mostly, especially the shorter works. There is a POD version for novels or anthologies. I might add more p-books in the future and do a-books whenever I figure out how to do them from Italy, but so far I’m selling only e-books, so I don’t know. I’d rather be off writing, you know?

Do you self-edit? If so why is that the case? Do you believe a book suffers without being professionally edited? I self-edit after I receive feedback from beta-readers and then send to a native editor/proofreader since I don’t write in my mother tongue. I don’t know what other authors do, but I’ve found badly written books next to wonderfully written books – and I didn’t bother asking each author who did the editing and proofreading. I overlook typos with indie and self-publishers, but when it’s a publishing house, it makes me wonder if they even did an editing or just put out the manuscript as received!

Do you read work by self-published authors? My time is so limited that I tend to read only indie and self-published authors lately – except now that I’m checking the Hugo nominees, better keep an eye on trad publishing, right?

When buying a book do you read the reviews? Nope. And I don’t read reviews on mine (or pretend not to).

What are your reviews on authors reviewing other authors? I used to review what I read if I would give it 3 or more stars. But after a discussion with an author I gave up the review thing. At the end of the year I make a list of the 5 stars books I’ve read and I contact the author for a guest post or interview if I really enjoyed his/her book.

What three pieces of advice would you give to new writers? Apply butt in chair and write. Learn the rules (technique) so you can blend or break them knowingly. Be persistent.

Most authors like to read, what have you recently finished reading? Did you enjoy it? I’m reading the Hugo nominees and no, I’m not enjoying any of them. I haven’t found a five-star read yet. Makes me worry that my tastes are far removed from the market, it’s going to be hard to find my readers! 😦

Book links, website/blog and author links:

Barbara G.Tarn

Website/Blog/Author pages etc.




Author Central

Where to find everything (although the i-bookstore link seems to be broken):

Silvery Earth (adult unconventional fantasy):

Star Minds (science fantasy):

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